Why Calgary Parents Should Get Their Children Extra Help with English
Posted on December 28th, 2019 9:25pm
If you live in Calgary and have children in the public school system, there is a good chance you have already heard about the recent government cuts that will be hitting the Calgary Board of Education starting in 2020.
Many teachers have already warned that these cuts could have a negative effect on the quality of education Calgary schools are able to offer, and while the education system as a whole will likely be able to absorb this unforeseen budgetary shortfall, individual students may be seriously impacted.
This is likely to be a special concern for people with children at critical stages of development, who are trying to master vital skills like literacy.
As recent reports out of Ontario have shown, provincial education systems across the country are struggling to impart basic life skills like literacy and numeracy, and employers are starting to worry that even students coming out of higher education institutions like universities and colleges often struggle to read and write at a sufficiently high level to achieve success in the workplace.
So what can parents do to make sure their kids don’t fall behind? English is a bedrock skill for Canadian students, one they will rely on every day of their personal and professional lives, and it is important to make sure literacy development is not impeded by budget cuts.
Here are just a few reasons Calgary parents should consider getting extra literacy help for their kids during this difficult time.
1. Literacy is a Gateway Skill
Imagine to yourself, if you will, what your daily routine would be like if you couldn’t read or write. Think about the thousands of small transactions and interactions that are only possible for you because you are able to read street signs, follow directions, and understand menus.
Now think about what your knowledge of the world would be like if you couldn’t read books or understand written text.
Without the ability to read and write at a reasonably high level, it is very difficult to attain a whole range of other skills and knowledge bases. Even in our media-saturate twenty-first century world, being able to understand the written word is fundamental.
Making sure your kids learn English at an early age can prime them for greater academic success later on, as it will empower them to follow their interests by reading books and web articles and exploring the world through the texts they encounter.
For this reason, you may want to engage an English tutor in Calgary if you want to ensure that your kids are getting the literacy help they need during critical stages of their development.
2. Learning to Read and Write can be Difficult
As anyone who has ever worked with a child learning to read or write knows, these tasks which come so naturally to us as adults actually take a good deal of time to learn as children. This is in part because the human brain is not hard-wired to read the way it is hard-wired to listen and speak.
Most children learn to read around the age of six, but there is a huge range of variance within what can be considered normal: some children are reading as young as four, but it isn’t unusual for seven- or eight-year-olds to struggle to understand basic texts.
Literacy is simply not something that comes naturally to every child, and one of the fundamental purposes of a primary education should be to help make sure that even kids who find reading extremely difficult have the opportunity to master reading and writing.
A great deal of research has gone into understanding how humans learn to read and write, and one of the reasons literacy rates are so high is because modern pedagogues have an unparalleled grasp on how to make literacy education effective and efficient.
Unfortunately, this requires that teachers have the time and resources to pay proper attention to each individual child, and this is something that becomes exponentially harder to do with each addition student who is added to the class.
Uniform education solutions simply don’t work when it comes to helping kids overcome personal barriers to learning, and as funding gets tight for Calgary schools, many of them will have fewer resources to offer the hands-on help children need.
One of the reasons why hiring a tutor to help your child improve their literacy skills is because tutors work with students on a one-on-one basis and provide the kind of personalized help that most children struggling to learn to read or write need.
3. Effective Literacy Training Requires Attention, Feedback, and Support
But literacy isn’t just about learning to read and write: it is about learning how to engage with texts so as to understand what they mean on a deep level. In a sense, we never stop developing these skills — our vocabulary continues to grow throughout our lives, and most of us need to develop more acute critical reading skills to succeed in our working lives as well.
After all, the purpose of literacy is to make sense of the world around us. From understanding street signs to reading the news to being able to grasp the underlying principles that govern the Internet or the life cycles of trees, reading is a skill that expands our horizons (you can click here
to read more about how reading relates to education and developmental assets).
A high level of literacy is not easy to achieve, however, and it is practically impossible for students who don’t have access to good instruction and hands-on teaching. Specifically, it requires inputs in the three following areas
- Attention: Students need a teacher who can help them master everything from basics like the alphabet, phonics, and spelling, to more complex concepts like figures of speech, idiomatic and metaphorical language, and technical or scientific writing.
- Feedback: Students need to receive detailed feedback about the progress they are making if they are to build skills, correct errors, and build confidence. This feedback needs to be personalized and based on the particular issues that every learner is facing.
- Support: Anyone learning to read will inevitably face barriers and blocks, and an essential aspect of improving literacy involves giving students the support that will help them overcome these obstacles. Without strong support, students can lose confidence and even come to believe that they are incapable of mastering the material.
As children grow older, they become better able to create their own pathways to learning and seek out help where they need it. But because most children learn to read and write between the ages of four and seven, it is absolutely critical for them to have hands-on help during this process.
At Prep Academy Tutors, we have a lot of experience helping concerned parents improve their children’s literacy skills, and our tutors have extensive skills and training to help them employ the best strategy for each individual student.
We understand that when kids aren’t getting the tailored support they need in the classroom due to teacher and educational assistant shortages — and sometimes even when this is not the case — they aren’t able to reach their full potential.
This can have serious ramifications for academic success further down the road and can encourage negative attitudes toward learning and academic achievement more generally among students who are made to feel dumb, when actually they’re just being left behind by an under-resourced system.
That’s why one-on-one tutoring is an essential part of how we work and it’s also why our tutors provide tutoring in the comfort and security of your own home, so your children are able to confront the difficulties of learning to read and write in a safe, familiar, and supportive place.
As a parent, it can be easy to feel helpless when education cuts happen. Decisions made by the government regarding education funding have been shown to impact ordinary people in all kinds of unpredictable ways, and even those who agree with such policies may not always appreciate the way they are carried out.
But concerned Calgary parents who worry that crowded classrooms and under-resourced schools will negatively impact their children’s ability to develop the literacy skills they need to succeed in the twenty-first century are not without options.
High quality instruction from experienced teachers can go a long way toward supplementing the regular curriculum, and student-centred tutoring designed to give kids the hand’s-on help they need to thrive can more than make up for any shortfalls they might face in their regular curriculum.
If you want to make sure your children have the support they need to learn English this year, get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors in Calgary to find an English teacher near you!